29 August 2011

I was up a little earlier today and was on the road at 9am. My last day on the Black Sea coast road. Traffic was light and the road surface excellent. Just the conditions the Family Truckster was built for to eat up the miles in good time.

Even though a major highway this road is not like the motorways in the UK. There are almost no straight sections as the road follows the coast only occasionally passing through a tunnel. It’s not completely flat either with nice undulations to keep it interesting.

On reaching the outer limits of Trabzon, I was waved over by the local Polis. Unfortunately this was not for social reasons, it was purely business, and I was going over the speed limit. The Polis officers were very professional but spoke no English. Passport, drivers license, insurance papers and registration papers were all presented. They wrote me out a ticket but could offer no details in English on how I was to settle the fine.

I asked another motorist who was also pulled over if he spoke English. Sadly he didn’t although when the Polis were not looking he did motion to me to rip the ticket up.

Fair cop I though, better take it easy as they will surely have another speed trap on the other side of town. Sticking diligently to the 100km speed limit I was devastated when flagged down again – not half an hour after the first fine.

I’ve now been riding a motorbike for about 5 years and have not had one speeding ticket before today. Now I have a double whammy!

They tell me I was doing 104km and that the limit on this section of road is now 90km. Speed limit signs are all but non existent on Turkey’s highways or at least those I’ve now travelled on. Occasionally there is a sign reducing the speed limit coming into a town or where there are traffic lights but nothing tells you when the speed has increased again.

This was most frustrating and getting quite expensive.

The officer this time spoke good English. I asked if he could prove my speed was 104km and show me the sign reducing the speed to 90km before I would acknowledge the ticket. I explained my previous ticket a matter of minutes earlier, suggesting I had learned my lesson and was riding within the speed limits.

Eventually he got sick of me, particularly when he also could not explain how to settle the fine. I thanked him and shook his hand before heading off slowly. Cars passed me for the next hour and I so no signs indicating the maximum speed limit – this was most embarrassing!

Passing through Rize and Pazar was uneventful and at Ardesen I left the highway and headed south for the mountains.

This was a great road with nice sweeping corners, not too tight, and a pure surface. It followed a fast flowing river used for white water rafting, with thick forest and steep slopes on both sides. There were several spectatular waterfalls on the journey and also at Ayder.

The surfaced road ended at about 1,300m so I stopped for a coffee and to plan the rest of my day.

The ride to Ayder was so good. Time to turn around, go back down the mountain and keep trucking on towards Uzongol.  No time to linger on this Turkey motorcycle tour.